Ezekiel 28:3
Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:
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(3) Wiser than Daniel.—This is ironically spoken. Daniel was so famed for his wisdom in the great Chaldæan Empire (Daniel 1:20; Daniel 2:48; Daniel 4:18; Daniel 5:11-12; Daniel 6:3, &c.) that the report must have already reached Tyre. He had been twenty years in Nebuchadnezzar’s court when Jerusalem fell, and the siege of Tyre was five years later.

Ezekiel 28:3-8. Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel — In thy own conceit. The fame of Daniel’s wisdom was quickly spread over Chaldea, upon his being advanced to several posts of honour and dignity by Nebuchadnezzar. See Daniel 2:8. So here the prophet in an ironical manner upbraids the vain boasts which the prince of Tyre made of his wisdom, and the policy of those about him, as if it exceeded the endowments of Daniel. The Phenicians, of whom the Tyrians were a colony, (see note on Isaiah 23:12,) valued themselves for their wisdom and ingenuity, as being inventors of navigation, letters, and sciences. Compare Zechariah 9:2. With thy wisdom, &c., thou hast gotten thee riches — Thy skill in navigation and trade has increased thy wealth. Behold, I will bring upon thee the terrible of the nations — The Babylonians, who by their conquests have made themselves terrible to all the nations round about them. They shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom — They shall deface and destroy all the beautiful edifices which thou hast erected with admirable art, and every thing which thou valuest as ornamental or useful, beauteous or magnificent, even all the glory of thy kingdom. They shall defile thy brightness — They shall render thy kingdom, which is now flourishing and glorious, weak and contemptible. Thou shalt die the deaths, &c. — Thou shalt die the death of those who perished in the flood. The expression deaths, in the plural, intimates a still further punishment, even after the death of the body; such as that impious race experienced, and such as this haughty prince had well deserved by his mad pride and blasphemous impiety. And therefore with the same emphasis the prophet tells us, Ezekiel 28:10, Thou shalt die the deaths, the double death, of the uncircumcised; that is, of unbelievers and enemies to God. For circumcision being the rite which distinguished God’s chosen people from the heathen, uncircumcised is equivalent in sense to wicked or profane. So the Chaldee Paraphrase renders it here. “This is not the only place in this prophecy where the destruction by the deluge is alluded to: for this, and the fall of angels, being two of the greatest events that ever happened, and the most remarkable of God’s judgments, it was very natural for the prophets to recur to them, when they would raise their style in the description of the fall of empires and tyrants. See Ezekiel 26:19-20; Ezekiel 27:26; Ezekiel 27:32; Ezekiel 27:34. As the style of this prophet is wonderfully adapted to the subject whereof he treats, so he compares the destruction of this famous maritime city to a vessel shipwrecked in the sea, and so sends its inhabitants to the people of old times, as he calls them, who were swallowed up in the universal deluge. Their prince he compares to the prince of the rebel angels, whose pride had given him such a dreadful fall.” See Peters on Job, p. 373, and notes on Ezekiel 28:14.

28:1-19 Ethbaal, or Ithobal, was the prince or king of Tyre; and being lifted up with excessive pride, he claimed Divine honours. Pride is peculiarly the sin of our fallen nature. Nor can any wisdom, except that which the Lord gives, lead to happiness in this world or in that which is to come. The haughty prince of Tyre thought he was able to protect his people by his own power, and considered himself as equal to the inhabitants of heaven. If it were possible to dwell in the garden of Eden, or even to enter heaven, no solid happiness could be enjoyed without a humble, holy, and spiritual mind. Especially all spiritual pride is of the devil. Those who indulge therein must expect to perish.Thou art wiser than Daniel - The passage is one of strong irony. Compare Ezekiel 14:14; Daniel 6:3.

Ezekiel 28:3Thou art wiser than Daniel - The passage is one of strong irony. Compare Ezekiel 14:14; Daniel 6:3.

3. Ezekiel ironically alludes to Ithbaal's overweening opinion of the wisdom of himself and the Tyrians, as though superior to that of Daniel, whose fame had reached even Tyre as eclipsing the Chaldean sages. "Thou art wiser," namely, in thine own opinion (Zec 9:2).

no secret—namely, forgetting riches (Eze 28:4).

that they can hide—that is, that can be hidden.

Thou art wiser, in thy own thoughts of thyself, than Daniel, who was then famous for his wisdom, which was imparted to him from Heaven, Ezekiel 14:20 Daniel 1:20 2:20,48.

That they can hide from thee; that any sort of men can conceal, that thine adversaries shall contrive against thee to thy danger or hurt: all this ironically said.

Behold; thou art wiser than Daniel,.... That is, in his own opinion; or it is ironically said. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it by way of interrogation, "art thou not wiser than Daniel?" who was now at the court of Babylon, and was famous throughout all Chaldea for his knowledge in politics, his wisdom and prudence in government, as well as his skill in interpreting dreams. The Jews have a saying, that

"if all the wise men of the nations were in one scale, and Daniel in the other, he would weigh them all down.''

And perhaps the fame of him had reached the king of Tyre, and yet he thought himself wiser than he; see Zechariah 9:2, antichrist thinks himself wiser than Daniel, or any of the prophets and apostles; he is wise above that which is written, and takes upon him the sole interpretation of the Scriptures, and to fix the sense of them:

there is no secret that they can hide from thee; as he fancied; he had sagacity to penetrate into the councils of neighbouring princes, and discover all plots and intrigues against him; he understood all the "arcana" and secrets of government, and could counterwork the designs of his enemies. Antichrist pretends to know all mysteries, and solve all difficulties, and pass an infallible judgment on things; as if he was of the privy council of heaven, and nothing was transacted there but he was acquainted with it, and had full knowledge of the mind of God in all things.

Behold, thou art wiser than {b} Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:

(b) Thus he speaks by derision: for Daniel had declared notable signs of his wisdom in Babylon, when Ezekiel wrote this.

3. wiser than Daniel] Cf. on ch. Ezekiel 14:14. The language appears ironical. It does not follow from the allusion that the story of Daniel was known in Tyre.

no secret … hide] Or, no secret is hidden. In Ezekiel 31:8 the word seems to mean “be equal to,” “come up to.” This sense would require a personal subject, which might be got if the term “no secret,” lit. no closed, could be taken as Numbers 24:3; Numbers 24:5 closed of eyes, i.e. inspired. The versions differ widely from one another.

Ezekiel 28:4 seq. The wisdom of the prince, who is but the incarnation of the spirit of the city, displayed itself in his commercial enterprise, in his skill in arts and manufactures, for which the Tyrians were famous, and thus he amassed such riches and surrounded himself with such splendour that he deemed himself God (Ezekiel 28:6). Already Homer calls the Sidonians poludaidaloi (Il. 23. 743).

Ezekiel 28:7 seq. His chastisement because of his self-deification. As Nebuchadnezzar affected to set himself in the sides of the North but was brought down to the sides of the pit, the prince of Tyre shall die an ignominious death. The “terrible” i.e. most terrible of the nations are the Chaldeans, cf. the prophet’s contemporary Habakkuk 1:6-10. See ch. Ezekiel 7:21; Ezekiel 7:24, Ezekiel 30:11, Ezekiel 31:12, Ezekiel 32:12.

the beauty of thy wisdom] The beauty is not regarded as the product of his wisdom, but rather as the expression of it, that in which it clothes itself. Cf. Ezekiel 28:12.

defile thy brightness] profane, cf. Ezekiel 28:17. The term “profane” is used on account of the prince’s assumption of divinity.

Verse 3. - Thou art wiser than Daniel, etc. There is, of course, a marked irony in the words. Daniel was for Ezekiel - and there seems something singularly humble and pathetic in the prophet's reverence for his contemporary - the ideal at once of righteousness (Ezekiel 14:14) and of wisdom. He was a revealer of the secrets of the future, and read the hearts of men. His fame was spread far and wide through the Chaldean empire. And this was the man with whom the King of Tyro compared himself with a self-satisfied sense of superiority, and he found the proof of his higher wisdom in his wealth. Here, again, I venture to trace a side-thrust at Nebuchadnezzar and his tendencies in the same direction," Is not this great Babylon, which I have builded?" Ezekiel 28:3Fall of the Prince of Tyre

Ezekiel 28:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 28:2. Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thy heart has lifted itself up, and thou sayest, "I am a God, I sit upon a seat of Gods, in the heart of the seas," when thou art a man and not God, and cherishest a mind like a God's mind, Ezekiel 28:3. Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; nothing secret is obscure to thee; Ezekiel 28:4. Through thy wisdom and thy understanding hast thou acquired might, and put gold and silver in thy treasuries; Ezekiel 28:5. Through the greatness of thy wisdom hast thou increased thy might by thy trade, and thy heart has lifted itself up on account of thy might, Ezekiel 28:6. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thou cherishest a mind like a God's mind, Ezekiel 28:7. Therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon thee, violent men of the nations; they will draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and pollute thy splendour. Ezekiel 28:8. They will cast thee down into the pit, that thou mayest die the death of the slain in the heart of the seas. Ezekiel 28:9. Wilt thou indeed say, I am a God, in the face of him that slayeth thee, when thou art a man and not God in the hand of him that killeth thee? Ezekiel 28:10. Thou wilt die the death of the uncircumcised at the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken it, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - This threat of judgment follows in general the same course as those addressed to other nations (compare especially Ezekiel 25), namely, that the sin is mentioned first (Ezekiel 28:2-5), and then the punishment consequent upon the sin (Ezekiel 28:6-10). In Ezekiel 28:12 מלך is used instead of נגיד, dux. In the use of the term נגיד to designate the king, Kliefoth detects an indication of the peculiar position occupied by the prince in the commercial state of Tyre, which had been reared upon municipal foundations; inasmuch as he was not so much a monarch, comparable to the rulers of Bayblon or to the Pharaohs, as the head of the great mercantile aristocracy. This is in harmony with the use of the word נגיד for the prince of Israel, David for example, whom God chose and anointed to be the nâgīd over His people; in other words, to be the leader of the tribes, who also formed an independent commonwealth (vid., 1 Samuel 13:14; 2 Samuel 7:8, etc.). The pride of the prince of Tyre is described in Ezekiel 28:2 as consisting in the fact that he regarded himself as a God, and his seat in the island of Tyre as a God's seat. He calls his seat מושׁב , not "because his capital stood out from the sea, like the palace of God from the ocean of heaven" (Psalm 104:3), as Hitzig supposes; for, apart from any other ground, this does not suit the subsequent description of his seat as God's mountain (Ezekiel 28:16), and God's holy mountain (Ezekiel 28:14). The God's seat and God's mountain are not the palace of the king of Tyre, but Tyre as a state, and that not because of its firm position upon a rocky island, but as a holy island (ἁγία νῆσος, as Tyre is called in Sanchun. ed. Orelli, p. 36), the founding of which has been glorified by myths (vid., Movers, Phoenizier, I pp. 637ff.). The words which Ezekiel puts into the mouth of the king of Tyre may be explained, as Kliefoth has well expressed it, "from the notion lying at the foundation of all natural religions, according to which every state, as the production of its physical factors and bases personified as the native deities of house and state, is regarded as a work and sanctuary of the gods." In Tyre especially the national and political development went hand in hand with the spread and propagation of its religion. "The Tyrian state was the production and seat of its gods. He, the prince of Tyre, presided over this divine creation and divine seat; therefore he, the prince, was himself a god, a manifestation of the deity, having its work and home in the state of Tyre." All heathen rulers looked upon themselves in this light; so that the king of Babylon is addressed in a similar manner in Isaiah 14:13-14. This self-deification is shown to be a delusion in Ezekiel 28:2; He who is only a man makes his heart like a God's heart, i.e., cherishes the same thought as the Gods. לב, the heart, as the seat of the thoughts and imaginations, is named instead of the disposition.

This is carried out still further in Ezekiel 28:3-5 by a description of the various sources from which this imagination sprang. He cherishes a God's mind, because he attributes to himself superhuman wisdom, through which he has created the greatness, and might, and wealth of Tyre. The words, "behold, thou art wiser," etc. (Ezekiel 28:3), are not to be taken as a question, "art thou indeed wiser?" as they have been by the lxx, Syriac, and others; nor are they ironical, as Hvernick supposes; but they are to be taken literally, namely, inasmuch as the prince of Tyre was serious in attributing to himself supernatural and divine wisdom. Thou art, i.e., thou regardest thyself as being, wiser than Daniel. No hidden thing is obscure to thee (עמם, a later word akin to the Aramaean, "to be obscure"). The comparison with Daniel refers to the fact that Daniel surpassed all the magi and wise men of Babylon in wisdom through his ability to interpret dreams, since God gave him an insight into the nature and development of the power of the world, such as no human sagacity could have secured. The wisdom of the prince of Tyre, on the other hand, consisted in the cleverness of the children of this world, which knows how to get possession of all the good things of the earth. Through such wisdom as this had the Tyrian prince acquired power and riches. חיל, might, possessions in the broader sense; not merely riches, but the whole of the might of the commercial state of Tyre, which was founded upon riches and treasures got by trade. In Ezekiel 28:5 בּרכלּתך is in apposition to בּרב הכמתך, and is introduced as explanatory. The fulness of its wisdom showed itself in its commerce and the manner in which it conducted it, whereby Tyre had become rich and powerful. It is not till we reach Ezekiel 28:6 that we meet with the apodosis answering to 'יען גּבהּ וגו in Ezekiel 28:2, which has been pushed so far back by the intervening parenthetical sentences in Ezekiel 28:2-5. For this reason the sin of the prince of Tyre in deifying himself is briefly reiterated in the clause 'יען תּתּך וגו (Ezekiel 28:6, compare Ezekiel 28:2), after which the announcement of the punishment is introduced with a repetition of לכן in Ezekiel 28:7. Wild foes approaching with barbarous violence will destroy all the king's resplendent glory, slay the king himself with the sword, and hurl him down into the pit as a godless man. The enemies are called עריצי גּוים, violent ones of the peoples - that is to say, the wild hordes composing the Chaldean army (cf. Ezekiel 30:11; Ezekiel 31:12). They drew the sword "against the beauty (יפי, the construct state of יפי) of thy wisdom," i.e., the beauty produced by thy wisdom, and the beautiful Tyre itself, with all that it contains (Ezekiel 26:3-4). יפעה, splendour; it is only here and in Ezekiel 28:17 that we meet with it as a noun. The king himself they hurl down into the pit, i.e., the grave, or the nether world. ממותי חלל, the death of a pierced one, substantially the same as מותי ערלים. The plural ממותי and מותי here and Jeremiah 16:4 (mortes) is a pluralis exaggerativus, a death so painful as to be equivalent to dying many times (see the comm. on Isaiah 53:9). In Ezekiel 28:9 Ezekiel uses the Piel מחלּל in the place of the Poel מחולל, as חלל in the Piel occurs elsewhere only in the sense of profanare, and in Isaiah 51:9 and Poel is used for piercing. But there is no necessity to alter the pointing in consequence, as we also find the Pual used by Ezekiel in Ezekiel 32:26 in the place of the Poal of Isaiah 53:5. The death of the uncircumcised is such a death as godless men die - a violent death. The king of Tyre, who looks upon himself as a god, shall perish by the sword like a godless man. At the same time, the whole of this threat applies, not to the one king, Ithobal, who was reigning at the time of the siege of Tyre by the Chaldeans, but to the king as the founder and creator of the might of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:3-5), i.e., to the supporter of that royalty which was to perish along with Tyre itself. - It is to the king, as the representative of the might and glory of Tyre, and not merely to the existing possessor of the regal dignity, that the following lamentation over his fall refers.

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